Disclaimer: Harry Potter and all related objects belong to JK Rowling and her merry band of publishers, NOT me.
A/N: Written for an 'End of year' challenge on Fawkes Ashes. The challenge is to write:
1) A fic set on the last day of the 7th Year
2) A fic set on the last day of the 6th Year
The fic must include at least two of the following events:
A student becomes a member of the staff
A current staff member retires
A couple get married
Core characters (Harry, Ron, Hermione, Ginny, Neville etc) begin/are about to begin new jobs
A couple begin a family
I fitted in three. See if you can spot them!
This will be a three-part fic, with the last part uploaded July 15th to meet the challenge deadline. It's rated PG-13 for angst and death, so be warned, it's a Gin'n'Toxin. Thank you to my many Betas: Cyropi, Twisting Daisies, Polaris the Ice Queen and SycoCallie.
And finally, enjoy!
Red sky at night, wizard's delight
Red sky in the morning, witch's warning...
The sun rose early, turning the dark, cloudy sky a magnificent shade of red and chasing away the shadows of the night. The scattered, heavy clouds were tinted a brilliant orange, forgetting their promise of rain and storms to bask in the reflected glory of the sun. Delicate rays bounced off the windows of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, and slowly, and very reluctantly, the school woke up. Sunrise was over within what seemed like seconds, and the few students who had stayed to watch one of their last sunrises at Hogwarts sighed miserably as the sky returned to a bleak grey, the clouds looming ominously over the castle and grounds.
The Gryffindor Tower was especially sombre that morning, as the seventh years woke to face their last week in the school, and the rest of the Gryffindors got up to the realization that they would be losing their favourite - and most famous - classmates.
Harry Potter, Hermione Granger and Ron Weasley were sitting around a small table, each staring sadly at the pile of parchment in the centre.
'We won't need this any more,' said Hermione, her voice thick with misery. 'All that work, and we won't need our notes after all.'
'Cheer up, Hermione,' said Harry, his voice just as sad. 'We'll still see each other.'
'All the time, if I can help it,' added Ron gently, his Head Boy badge shining as the common room lit up. "Mum's said you're all welcome to come stay at the Burrow whenever you want."
'And I'll be moving to a flat of my own, so there'll always be a room for you.' Harry's face lit up as he remembered, for the umpteenth time that morning, that he would no longer suffer with the Dursleys over his summer. His piercing green eyes danced with excitement, and staring at those eyes, neither of his friends could stay sad.
'Just think, I won't really be leaving!' Hermione said, cheering up slightly. 'I'll just be living somewhere else in the school, that's all.'
'I still can't believe that McGonagall took you on.' Ron straightened up in his chair and ran a hand through his messy red hair. 'I thought she'd never have an apprentice. She's always been at Hogwarts. An apprentice means she'll be leaving soon.'
'I thought she had a Philosopher's Stone stashed away, so that she never had to stop teaching,' grinned Harry. The mention of the Philosopher's Stone cast a spell of nostalgia over the trio, and they sat in silence, each lost in their own memories of the labyrinth leading up to the Stone.
'That was some bloody brilliant flying,' said Ron reflectively. Harry snorted.
'You could never do that even now, mate.'
'Hah! I could out-fly you any day, Potter. That's why I'm going on to professional Quidditch and you're going to be an Auror. You haven't got the flair to make it big.'
'You dare say that to me, the one and only Boy Who Lived?' Harry affected an injured, incredulous tone, and Hermione shot him a warning glare.
'I dare!' said Ron with a grin, effectively throwing down the gauntlet. Harry, aware that they were now the centre of attention, pushed back his chair and stood haughtily.
'You, sir, have offended my honour!' he announced loudly. 'I challenge you to a duel!'
'I accept!' The second the words left his mouth, Ron launched himself forward, tackling Harry to the floor. A group of second year girls, who had been standing and watching the Golden Trio admiringly, screamed as Harry and Ron launched into the middle of them, wrestling each other. The tousled black hair and the equally messy redhead moved around the floor as Ron held Harry in a headlock, Harry had Ron's arm twisted uncomfortably, both were gently trying to make the other submit.
'Honestly!' After watching them for a few moments, Hermione got to her feet, reaching for where her wand lay next to her Head Girl badge, and marched over to the two boys. 'Stop it now, or I'll Stun you!'
The two stopped, staring up at Hermione with panic evident on their faces. 'Sorry Hermione,' they muttered, standing up and towering over their short friend.
'Sorry! You'll be more than sorry, Ronald Weasley! What sort of example is that to set for the younger years! You're Head Boy, you could at least try to act like it! And as for you, Harry Potter,' she added, turning to the sniggering boy. 'You're Quidditch Captain! In a position of equal respect and importance, and you set an abysmal standard! I'm thoroughly ashamed of you!' Finally running out of breath, Hermione resorted to folding her arms and glaring at the boys. They glanced at each other warily.
'Come on Hermione,' said Harry hesitantly, the first to speak. 'It's the last week ever. There'll be someone to set a better example next year.'
'Besides, you're sounding scarily like Mum,' commented Ron. Hermione shot him another glare, before throwing her arms up in the air, resigned.
'Alright, fine. If you don't have any respect for your surroundings and fellow students, be my guest. Roll around on the carpet like a pair of three-year-olds for as long as you like. I'm going to start packing.' She stamped her foot, emphatically making her point, and marched off to the girl's dormitories.
'Bloody hell, mate.' Ron straightened his robes and badge. 'She's in a foul mood, isn't she?'
'She's sad to be leaving, that's all.' Harry grinned at the girls that they had scared, and sat back down. 'She lives in a Muggle household, remember?'
'She can always come stay with us,' shrugged Ron, wincing as indistinct shouts came from the stairs leading to the dorms, and sunk under the table as a door slammed. Footsteps were heard coming down the stairs, and Ginny came into the common room.
'Alright, Gin?' asked Harry, giving Ron a kick. 'It's only Ginny, Ron.'
'Only Ginny?' Ron's head reappeared. 'Oh, right. You don't happen to know what mood Hermione's in, do you?'
Ginny's eyes narrowed. 'The same mood as I ought to be in now!' she fumed, and stalked off. They heard the Fat Lady's comment, 'You are in a tizzy, aren't you dear?' and stared at each other.
'Women,' they said simultaneously, shrugging.
'Only Ginny!' the red headed Gryffindor fumed as she seated herself at the Ravenclaw table. 'Only!'
'Good morning Ginevra,' said a dreamy voice beside her. Luna Lovegood's large eyes appeared over a copy of Magical Me. 'Did you know that Gilderoy Lockhart makes several references to the Flame-Tongued Snorkleback in his books?'
'No, but I know he's a bloody useless Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher.' Ginny helped herself to some of Luna's breakfast, nibbling hungrily on a slice of toast. 'About as useless as that blasted brother of mine.'
'What has Ronald said now?' Luna placed a quill in the book to mark her page, and set it down. Her earrings, scarily similar to Bill's fang earring, tangled themselves in her dirty blonde hair.
'Oh, what hasn't he said?' snapped Ginny irritably, not wanting to discuss her brother any further than she had to. Luna blinked, slowly.
'Ronald hasn't said many things, Gine-'
'Luna, I've known you long enough for you to start calling me Ginny.'
'Ginny.' Luna said the name with an eerie monotony, and despite herself, Ginny shivered. 'What has happened between you and Ronald?'
'It's his last week here!' said Ginny angrily, as if Luna wasn't there. 'And do you think he could be nice to me? No! This morning, he and Harry drove Hermione into such a temper, you wouldn't have believed it, Luna- well, maybe you would have, but then when I come into the common room, I get greeted with, "It's only Ginny". Only!' Ginny spat the word out as if it were venom. 'What sort of greeting is that?'
'Perhaps they meant it endearingly.'
'Perhaps they want a Bat-Bogey Hex,' growled Ginny. 'They come into Hogwarts, turn everything upside down, give me a huge example to live up to if I want Mum to be happy, and then have the gall to treat me as if I don't exist!'
There was silence, as several other Ravenclaws edged away from the angry girl.
'The Quibbler has an article on Thestrals,' said Luna vaguely. Ginny stared at her friend.
'What does that have to do with anything?' she asked incredulously. Luna picked up her copy of Magical Me and opened it.
'Buy a diary,' she said indistinctly, picking up her quill. 'It may succeed in releasing your anger at Ronald.'
Ginny blinked, her anger dissipating to be replaced by shock. 'Luna, remember our first year here? Remember Tom Riddle's diary? The murders? The possession? The basilisk?'
'So?' Luna peered over the book. 'Not every diary is inhabited by the spirit of a sixteen-year-old Dark Lord, and not every diary is going to possess you. Every diary, however, is home to several thousand Spined Globberworms.' Luna gave Ginny a warning glance. 'According to The Quibbler, Globberworms are among the most dangerous of microscopic creatures.'
Ginny stood slowly, digesting what Luna had said. In between the bouts of random nonsense that she had come to expect, there was some good advice.
'I'll see you later, Luna,' she said, walking slowly out of the Great Hall. Luna said nothing, and studiously turned back a page in Magical Me.
Above them, the enchanted ceiling started to rain.
'A diary?' Hermione watched Ginny suspiciously as the younger girl paced the dormitory. Parvati and Lavender were out with Padma and Hannah Abbott, leaving two of the beds in a mess. Ginny pushed aside a pile of robes and sat down.
'Yes. A diary.' Ginny's calm brown eyes showed none of the turmoil inside. Half of her was screaming nonsense, you don't want a diary, remember what happened last time? and this was evidently what was going through Hermione's mind.
'I thought that if I came to you,' she continued placidly, raising her voice over the noise of the rain from Hermione's open window, 'then you would make sure it was safe for me. That way, I can't get into any problems like I did in my first year.'
'Well...' Hermione bit her lip, her bushy hair falling into her face as she hesitated. '... Alright. I'll Transfigure something into a diary for you. I'll put some spells on it to, so you don't have to worry about privacy. Is that alright?'
'Thanks Hermione!' Ginny hugged her friend enthusiastically. 'I knew I could count on you.'
'You're welcome,' smiled Hermione, her eyes darkening with worry. 'I'll find you as soon as I've made it.'
'I'll probably be studying with Luna,' said Ginny, picking up her bag. 'We need to get started on our holiday homework.'
'That's the spirit!' Hermione's smile widened. 'Ron would do well to take a leaf out of your book.'
'He's going on to play Quidditch, Hermione. He won't ever need to sit a test again, and he'll be famous.' Ginny smiled thinly, veiling her nerves at facing the next year.
'It's lucky for him, then.' Hermione folded her hands primly and pursed her lips. 'Make sure you don't follow his example, Ginny. Studying at the last moment is never as beneficial as weeks of revision beforehand.'
'And he still made Head Boy.' Ginny shook her head. 'Unbelievable. He's broken just about every rule in the book.' She turned to leave.
'So have I,' said Hermione quietly from behind her. 'The trick is to not get caught.' Ginny turned her head, and the older girl winked slyly at her. Shaking her head, Ginny left the room and entered her own dorm further down the stairs. Soon, I'll have an outlet for everything. I should really go and thank Luna. Deciding that this would be her next move, she hunted for her cloak, swung it over her shoulders, and headed down out of the Common Room and across the grounds to where she knew Luna would be.
'A diary? What does she want a diary for?' Ron pushed aside a pile of robes to allow Hermione room to sit down.
'Every girl needs a diary, Ron. But Ginny's never had one before, not after Riddle's diary, and I wondered if you knew what had made her change her mind.' Hermione perched on the end of Ron's bed and drew her knees up, hugging them tightly. The room was dark and miserable, the windows clouded and streaked with rain.
Harry, from his seat on his own bed, sighed and pushed his glasses further up his nose. 'Maybe she just needs to get over it,' he said lamely. 'She went through hell in that year. She'll never get over it properly, but maybe by having a diary of her own, one that won't possess her and set basilisks on people, she'll be able to get some sort of closure.'
'You sound like a psychology textbook,' commented Hermione, laughing as Harry blushed. 'But I understand.'
'I don't. What's psychology?' Ron looked from one worried face to the other, his own expression completely blank.
'It's a Muggle thing, Ron. It'd take too long to explain.' Harry grinned broadly, trying to hide his concern for Ginny. 'Besides, it's just somewhere for her to write. Why are we making such a fuss? Riddle's diary is gone, destroyed, and if there were any more evil books lurking around Hogwarts, they'd probably have tried to attack us by now.'
Hermione buried her head in her arms, and despite the warmth of the room, shivered.
'Keep an eye on her Ron, won't you? I don't want anything to happen to Ginny,' she ordered weakly. 'I'll make her a diary now... and I hope I'm doing the right thing.'
'What are we looking for again?' Ginny straightened and gathered her hair up, using a small spell to hold it away from her face. Luna looked up from where she was half-buried in the earth of Greenhouse Four, dirt smeared across her cheek, and picked some grass from her tangled hair.
'A Moke,' she said seriously, her eyes fixed on the wall behind Ginny. 'It's a lizard.'
'It is?' Ginny stared at the mound of earth that she had been searching through. 'So why are we looking in the ground?'
'It can shrink at will,' informed Luna, blinking slowly. 'It could be any size. It's silver-green in colour.'
'And why do we want one?' asked Ginny, exasperated.
'To study.' Luna gave a small sigh and a smile, before returning to her digging. Ginny shook her head and reached for a trowel.
'I asked Hermione to Transfigure me a diary,' she said casually, ignoring the speed at which her heart started beating at those words. Fear coursed through her, but she suppressed it, stabbing the trowel into the ground.
'Are you frightened?' A direct question from Luna, and one as perceptive as that, was enough to shock Ginny into answering immediately.
'Yes. I'm petrified.' Ginny pushed the trowel further into the earth and broke a large clump of soil away. 'The last time I had a diary, it almost killed me, my friends, put my family in danger... Does Professor Sprout know we're in here?'
'I asked for permission.' Luna picked a small rock up and pocketed it. 'Do you believe you are in danger from this diary?'
'No. Yes. I don't know- Luna, why on earth are you keeping those rocks?'
'The Moke will need items around it that reflect its natural habitat.' Luna pulled her wand from where it was stuck behind her ear, and started counting the rocks with it.
'The Moke isn't going to possess you and kill people, is it?' asked Ginny bitterly. 'Most girls have normal diaries. I get dead people talking to me.'
'I imagine it was nice,' said Luna slowly, examining an uprooted plant.
'Nice? Luna, I was waking up with most of my memories of the day before missing, to find out that someone else had been paralysed. I can still remember lying in the Chamber of Secrets, seeing him come out of the diary, seeing him-' Ginny buried her head in her hands. Luna watched with mild interest as Ginny's shoulders shook with effort as she suppressed her shrieks of anger and fear.
'But it was nice to have someone comfort you and talk back.' Luna tilted her head to one side, her dreamy grey eyes reminiscent of the Divination professor's. 'Wasn't it?'
Ginny nodded, not lifting her head. 'Yes. Yes, it was. He showed me things from his time, he showed me himself, he made me like him, he made me... he made me kill Hagrid's chickens, he made me release the basilisk. I didn't want to keep talking to him!'
Luna reached out and rested a hand on Ginny's shoulder comfortingly. 'Every girl has a crush at some point,' she commented. 'There's a Moke.'
'What? Where?' Ginny spun around, and spotted the small, silvery movement against the earth. Luna's first words sunk in, and she turned her head back to the Ravenclaw, who was stealthily reaching out to the lizard. 'A crush?'
'Yes.' Luna closed her hand around a fistful of earth, and deposited it into her lap. 'Here's the Moke,' she said, as a silver streak in the earth grew and became recognizable as a lizard. 'A crush.'
'I did not have a crush on Tom Riddle!' insisted Ginny a little too loudly, startling the Moke. Luna picked it up and stared into the reptilian eyes with curiosity.
'We should put it with its rocks,' she said placidly, and reached into her robes to find a jar. 'I can take it back to the common room then.'
'I'm sure the other girls will love you for it,' glared Ginny, standing and dusting herself off. 'As much as I loved crawling around in the dirt looking for it,' she added, with an unnecessary amount of sarcasm.
'It was fun,' said Luna with a rare smile. 'We should clean ourselves up. If we don't, then the Crinkled Cawlocks will come and eat our nails.' Luna deposited the Moke and the rocks into the jar and left the greenhouse, not noticing Ginny's sceptical stare.
'Hello Luna!' Ginny saw a figure adorned with a Gryffindor scarf running across, trying to prevent herself from getting soaked by the rain. 'Have you seen Ginny?'
'Good morning Hermione Granger. Ginevra is in Greenhouse Four. Remind her about the Crinkled Cawlocks.'
Ginny could hear Hermione falter, and smiled at Hermione's quick recovery. 'Of course I'll remind her. Thank you, Luna.' Ginny heard running footsteps, and then Hermione's loud gasp for air as she entered the dry greenhouse. 'That girl is weird.'
'Luna's alright.' Ginny dusted off her cloak and swung it around her shoulders. 'Were you looking for me?'
'Yes. I've finished your diary.' Ginny turned and saw Hermione clutching a small parcel. 'I've cast some privacy charms on it, so if anyone else tries to read it, it'll hex them. Are you sure you're alright?' Hermione's face was worried, her run having brought a flush to her cheeks. Ginny smiled.
'I'm fine. Thank you so much.' Ginny took the parcel from Hermione's hands. 'Are you going back to the Common Room?'
'No, I've got to make arrangements with Professor McGonagall. Do you mind if I walk back part of the way with you?' Hermione rubbed her hands together, trying to warm them.
'Be my guest. I can tell you how I ended up playing Hunt the Moke with Luna.' Ginny pocketed the package - her new diary, she thought with a slight chill - and led the way out of the Greenhouse.
'A Moke? Did you find one? They're used quite often for purses, aren't they?'
'Purse? What's that?'
'A Muggle thing. What most wizards and witches call a moneybag...' Hermione's explanation trailed off as the two girls made their way swiftly back to the castle.
The cover stared up at her, dark red, with her name in gold writing. Ginny Weasley. It reminded her of a Muggle program that she had seen once, when visiting Hermione. This Is Your Life.
Ginny stared at it from her seat at the opposite end of the bed. The diary didn't move.
It's not going to hurt you. She reached out shakily, pushing back memories from her first year, and grasped the diary.
'Oh stop being so melodramatic!' snapped Ginny, scolding herself. She pulled the diary to her and opened it. The parchment crackled, clean and new. Reaching for an eagle feather quill - a present from Dean when they had split, to promise to stay on good terms - she started writing.
Hello. My name is Ginevra Molly Weasley. I'm a witch.
The writing shone as it dried, but nothing happened. Ginny heaved a sigh of relief, and carried on writing.
This is the second time I've had a diary. The first time didn't work out so well. She paused and stared, making sure that there was no invisible spirit reading her words.
The first time, I wrote in a diary belonging to Tom Marvolo Riddle. It was inhabited by his sixteen-year-old spirit. His current name is Lord Voldemort. He possessed me, abusing my trust in him, and used me to set a basilisk on the students. At the end of my first year in Hogwarts, the magical school I'm in, he almost killed me. I was saved by Harry Potter.
Harry Potter is the Boy Who Lived. He survived the Killing Curse when he was a baby. He destroyed Voldemort's power, and gave us fourteen years of freedom before Voldemort came back.
Harry is best friends with my brother, Ron. He spends every summer at our house. They do everything together - them and Hermione. Hermione Granger is the smartest witch in the school. She's Head Girl. Ron's Head Boy, and Harry is Quidditch Captain.
They're leaving Hogwarts this year, and I have to live up to them. They're my friends, Ron's my brother - I feel that I have to be as good as them, to make Mum proud.
All of my brothers have done well. Bill was Head Boy, Charlie was an incredible Quidditch Player, Percy was Head Boy. Fred and George have set up their own business, and are making lots of money. Ron's Head Boy.
I'm a Prefect, and I'm on the Quidditch team as a Chaser, but I doubt I'll make it to Head Girl, or Captain. We'll be lost without Harry and Ron, and Hermione is the best Head Girl ever. The three of them can almost read each others' minds - they've been through so much together, and it's made them unbeatable. Definitely unsurpassable. How am I meant to live up to them? How can I make Mum proud?
Ginny paused, and tapped her chin with the quill thoughtfully. The diary was working. She was writing things that she hadn't realised she felt.
'Do I really resent Harry and Ron and Hermione that much?' she wondered aloud. 'Or is it just that...' She put the quill to paper.
All three of them have faced Voldemort. All three of them have survived. Harry has fought him at least once every year since coming to Hogwarts. They're strong, they can make it.
I've encountered him twice. The first time, it was his spirit, and he almost killed me. The second time was in the Department of Mysteries, when I got injured and couldn't fight and help Harry.
I feel so useless because of that. Voldemort is a very real threat to all of us, and I can't fight for myself.
Part of that is because of what happened five years ago. I saw the teenage Tom. I got a crush on him. And now... every time someone says Voldemort, I see the young, handsome Tom Riddle that I liked, and it makes me feel vulnerable again, as if Tom is there in front of me, laughing, and I'm dying in the Chamber of Secrets.
This diary isn't as much comfort as his was. With his, I had someone to talk to, someone who could give me advice and help me. I wonder if it would still do that? The last time I saw it, it had a gaping hole in the middle.
At least Tom has gone from it now. If only he could go from my life... I still wake up screaming, dreaming that Harry didn't get to me in time, that Harry was killed in the Chamber, that I killed Ron and Hermione, and my family... he's haunting my every waking moment, and my every dream.
I wonder if it would help me to see the diary? Maybe, maybe if I knew he had gone from it, and wasn't a danger, I could move on.
Part two to be uploaded soon! :) If you enjoyed, drop me a review and let me know :)